French players aren’t new to the Premier League. However, this season Newcastle have seen their French contingent help fire the Toon towards Champions League Qualification for next season. But who is Newcastle’s top five Frenchman of all time? Here goes:
5) Charles N’Zogbia
Despite leaving Newcastle under a cloud after refusing to play under caretaker manager Joe Kinnear, it cannot be argued that N’Zogbia was not a successful player at St James Park. Signed for £250,000 from Le Havre, N’Zogbia was to make over 100 appearances on Tyneside. N’Zogbia was the final signing of legend manager Sir Bobby Robson. However, the Frenchman’s time on Tyneside came to a bitter end in January 2009 after Joe Kinnear called him ‘insomnia’ and he was sold to Premier League strugglers Wigan Athletic for £6 Million pounds.
4) Hatem Ben Arfa
Ben Arfa has really shone this season as Newcastle have stormed towards a Champions League place next season. Signed before the start of the 2010/2011 season on a season long loan from Marseille which later was to become a permanent deal, despite the 25 year old having his leg broken in an horrific challenge from Nigel De Jong against Manchester City. Ben Arfa had scored his first goal for the club two weeks prior to that with a 25 yard strike against Everton at Goodison Park. In January 2011, despite the player still being injured, Alan Pardew confirmed he had signed the player permanently on a four and half year contract and he hasn’t looked back since. He has scored six goals this season- 2 of them being contenders for Goal of the Season.
3) Yohan Cabaye
Cabaye was snapped up by manager Alan Pardew last summer for what now looks like the bargain price of just £4.5 Million. The central midfielder has forged a magnificent partnership in the middle with Chiek Tiote. A fine striker of the ball has meant Cabaye has already bagged a handful of goals for the club including a 30 yard free-kick against Manchester United in January as Newcastle brushed aside the Champions 3-0 at St James Park. Cabaye’s commited attitude and willingness to track back has made him a fan favourite on Tyneside and the fans and Pardew alike will hope he can continue his fine form next season.
2) Laurent Robert
Laurent Robert will be remembered on Tyneside for his wonder goals that become a regular feature during his five years at St James Park. Signed by Sir Bobby Robson for £9.5 Million, Robert’s arrival coincided with Newcastle finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions League. Robert continued to score wonder goals as Newcastle enjoyed their best period of football since the turn of the millennium. In his 129 appearances for the club Robert scored a total of 30 goals.
1) David Ginola
There could only be one. The ultimate Frenchman to grace the turf of St James Park has to be winger David Ginola. Despite only making 58 appearances for the club, Ginola was present at a successful time for the club under manager Kevin Keegan. Ginola was to finish with runners-up medal as Newcastle let slip a 12 point advantage to finish second to Manchester United in the Premier League 1995-96 season. After Keegan’s shock exit, Ginola was always likely to leave the club after Keegan’s replacement Kenny Dalglish never took a liking to the Frenchman. He was sold to Tottenham in 1997 for £2.5 Million pounds. Such was Ginola’s popularity with the Geordie crowd was that he picked up the nickname ‘David Copperfield’ after his ability to conjure up magic.
Do you agree? Let us know your top 5 Frenchman to play at St James Park.